A hummingbird checks tries out the new feeder
A hummingbird checks tries out the new feeder

[two_third]Smoking Loon Flock Napa Valley Merlot 2007
I’ve always been fascinated by hummingbirds. How can something so tiny migrate across the country and be so cute but then be the bully of the backyard. Ounce for ounce a hummingbird is one kick-ass little bird.

Each year I remember my feeders at the last minute and put them out about Sept. 1. Since they are migratory and take off around Sept. 22 (or at least are supposed to) I miss most of the opportunities to watch them buzz about. I had my feeders up in April this year. I set them up, had one hummer come by, take a sip and looked at me with disgust and I think gave me the finger.

Hummingbirds are bullies. They will stake out a feeder and dart down and ding another hummer on the butt if they stop at “their” feeder. I used to hear them fighting constantly in the Mimosa tree in our yard in Virginia. I didn’t see another hummer the entire summer. I tried refilling the 3 feeders but two fell apart. That was back in July. Yesterday when I refilled my last feeder it was bone dry in about 5 minutes. I had a leak. So I took off for Lowe’s and bought a new large industrial size feeder. As I was walking out to hang it up a hummer came darting down and almost took my head off.

He looked at me and I could tell he was saying “what the …… are you waiting for. I’m hungry.”

I hung it up and immediately I had a hummingbird airport in my garden. And they were kicking each other’s asses as usual. I guess they decided my old feeders weren’t up to their standards.

So today I wanted a bird related wine. All of the hummingbird related wines are too expensive. On the “Single and needs a date” table at the Vineyard was a 2007 Flock Merlot. Flock…hummingbird…. close enough.

We opened it over some day old pizza. Nice little wine. Very tight when first opened. I was using it to break in my new Auburn 2010 Football National Champions wine glass I bought last weekend.

Much more body and complexity that most Merlots I’ve had. And since I missed Dennis’s Merlot Madness Dinner last Friday I felt I needed a little Merlot in my life. I’m not sure this wine could hold a candle to the wines he had but I think my discounted wine (The Single and Needs a Date table gets 20% off) was worth it. The final price was around $13. So I splurged. I figured I deserved it after buying another Smoking Loon wine and reviewed it earlier this week and it cost under $8. I’m close on average. Good enough.

It has a very dry finish. A burst of fruit up front. I think it would be nice sipping, as I am right now, or with a meal. I guess the taste is a bit black pepper. I looked at the tasting notes and it lists a bunch of spices I can’t detect but I can detect the sandalwood reference. (When I was in junior high I went through an incense period and burned a lot of sandalwood incense. Hey it was the 70’s. I could have been burning something much worse… but alas I was a Boy Scout.

The Flock series of wines are from grapes sources from several regions with the intend being the best grapes from all over. This wine was from when they still called themselves “Three Loose Screws Wine Company.” Now they just refer to themselves as Don Sebastiani and Sons.

Just like the Zin I reviewed the other night the label is not about the wine. Someone in marketing wrote a mini-novel as if Smoking Loon was a character out of a cheap paperback. So I turned to their web site to see what they had to say:
Deep red in color with a nice translucence, you can smell Napa in a glass of this Merlot: diverse soils and long, steady ripening periods lend added depth to Napa wines without sacrificing well-rounded balance. It has classic Merlot fruit aromas, but with layers of intricate spices; Indian spice, cardamom, spearmint, and sandlewood all make an appearance. The depth of this wine’s nose immediately sets it apart from its peers. Full-bodied, a core of candied cherry and red current is nicely wrapped around a frame of rich French oak. A touch of soft tannin is present, creating a wonderful mouth-filling sensation that plays perfectly into the deep, cozy aromatics that unfold into the finish. The luxuriousness of the fruit, spice, and well-crafted body is very reminiscent of the holidays. Balanced and boasting an array of flavors to pair meals with, this Napa Merlot is sure to be loved at weeknight dinners and family gatherings alike.

Pair this wine with a hearty herbed lasagna: the dash of richness in the lasagna will find its match in our Flock Merlot. Pairing with a bowl of creamy homemade chili would also be a wonderful way to add elegance to a classic American dish. Other great options include braised short ribs, veal cutlets in marsala sauce, or a mild curried chicken.
Mrs. Dan liked it. She complemented me on having 3 wines in a row that she liked.

If I have a glass left I might go out and enjoy the hummers. Hope they like Merlot. I would hate to find out they are Pinot drinkers and gonna kick my ass.
From: California
Winery: Smoking Loon(Don Sebiastiani and Sons)
Year: 2007



Smoking Loon Flock Napa Valley Merlot
Smoking Loon Flock Merlot



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